I think it's safe to say that when the State of Illinois announced that harsher COVID-19 restrictions will go in effect this Saturday for bars and restaurants in Region 1, a lot of people lost their minds, myself included.

Forget what the "numbers" say, to single out bars and restaurants as the source of the exposure problem in Region 1, is a little unfair in my opinion. The majority of bars and restaurants in our area are doing their darndest to follow COVID-19 regulations, but they are at the mercy of the public to follow them, and the public is failing them. Why put more restrictions on businesses that are already clawing up steep hills to stay afloat following the first COVID shutdown? There has to be a better way.

Apparently, several Winnebago County officials feel the same way. According to mystateline.com, Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana has gone on the record saying his department will not be enforcing these new COVID-19 restrictions;

“I can speak for me and my department,” Sheriff Caruana said. “In this county we’re not doing anything about it.”

So, what exactly does this mean?

Many local bar and restaurant owners attended a meeting Thursday night at Giovanni's to listen to Managing Attorney of Silver Lake Group Ltd., Thomas DeVore give legal advice about what they can and cannot do in the wake of these new restrictions.

It all boils down to this... mystateline.com quotes DeVore as saying;

“Under no set of facts, under any law, under any rule is a felony charge against anyone possible.

Whether they (restaurant and bar owners) make any decision or not it’s their choice, it’s not mine. I’m not trying to encourage anyone to make any different choice, I’m just trying to give them information and hope they make good decisions with it.

(Watch live footage from last night's meeting, here)

To continue with indoor dining service or not to continue with it is the big decision every bar and restaurant needs to make right now. The most important thing you and I can do is support them and BE RESPONSIBLE about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook